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The Blue Baby 
And Other Stones 



BY THE SAME AUTHOR 




An Enchanted Garden. 

Illustrated by J. W. 

Henessey. 

Fcap. 8vo, Decorated 

Binding, is. «*The 

Children's Library." 



London : T. Fisher Unwin, 

Paternoster Square, 

E.C. 




■^ I'VV DAR/.IXd IX iJi.LK. 






The Blue Baby 



and 

Other Stories 



By 

Mrs. Molesworth 

Author of 
"An Enchanted Garden," •♦ Carroti," etc. 

PICTURED BY MAUD C. FORSTER 



Toronto 

The Musson Book Company, Ltd. 

1901 



f 



M 'J , 






lAll rights reserved.} 



880/b 



DEDICATION 

To Our Baby 

Cynthia 

Juliet 

Grant-Duff 

Ainslie 



Advent Sunday 
1900 




Vll 



Contents 



THE BtUB BABY 

THE MONKEY ON THE BARREL- 
^ ORGAN 

• • - 

BENJy's FAIRY . 

**A BIT lonesome" . 
MI88-8ENT LETTERS 
A COW WITH NINE LIVES 
A REMARKABLE CHICKEN 



ir 



IX 



List of Illustrations 

A TINY DARLING IN BLUB . FrontUpUct 

*HBR S OOINO WIF TINY OBB>OBBS " 5 

SHB WAS A QUBBR Lr.TLB PIGVIIB 3 1 

8HB VBNTURiiD TO OIVB THB 

MONKBY A PBNNY . . pq 

BENJ^-'S FAIRY . . . gg 

"it's a bit lonbsomb sometimes" 73 

♦•1 WONDER IP IT IS THERE WHERB 

THAT HANSOM IS STANDING" . 85 

THEY ALL BEGAN THANKING HIM . 90 

BEAUTY MIGHT HAVE LANDED IN 

SOME OTHER LITTLE COVE . II3 

"it's THB HOLLER TREE THB 



HOLLER WALNUT-TREE, MASTER 



ARTHUR 



. 121 



XI 



I 



THE BLUE BABY 



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THE BLUE BABV 
Part I 

IE thought her 
rather "spoilt" 
when we first 
noticed her, and 
perhaps we 
were right. She 
didn't mean it, 
though ; it was 
j« St her "way.'* 
It was at Wavcbeach— everybody 
nows the place under its real name, 
ut I prefer not to give that. 
We were not very old ourselves then— 
^ar me, dear me, it is a long time ago ! 
How nice it was to be young— at least, 
fo It seems to look back upon, but there 
Jere troubles then too. We had had 
fome trying illnesses and long anxiety, 
nd one among us who did not get 

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THE BLUE BABY 

better, and—you don't feel things like 
that any less severely because you are 
young. 

They sent some of us to Wavebeach 
for a change, and no doubt it did us 
good. There were days when it was 
difficult to believe it was all true ; days 
of such exquisite sunshine and seashine, 
such lovely fresh life that we almost 
cheated ourselves into forgetting. But 
it was not real forgetting, it could not 
be. 

No, the best times of all were the 
times of real remembering, of feeling 
down in the very bottom of our hearts 
that all the beauty and the sweetness of 
life here only mean something still better 
and more lasting— something that our 
dear one was ready for, that the troubles 
she too had known had made her ready 
for. ^ 

It was very soon after we came to 
Wavebeach that we first saw the Blue 
Baby. 

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THE BLUE BABY 

We were walking up and down the 
esplanade, or whatever it is they call it 
at Wavebeach— we had passed several 
little parties of children, some of whom 
we already knew by sight, when we 
heard a very shrill, very determined 
, little voice just behind us. 
■ "Top, top, top to w««j/," it said. 
. " Her's going wif tiny gee-gees." 
' And glancing round, there she was— 
the Blue Baby, giving her orders to the 
nurse who was pushing her perambulator, 
and evidently with no idea of not being 
obeyed. 

She did look so |.r;;tty— a real wax- 
doll of a child— with bright pale-golden 
hair all in a curly fluff, a face of lilies 
and roses, and blue, blue, oh such blue 
eyes, matching her little coat and hood 
and ribbons, which were all of a lovely 
sky-blue shade. 

The " tiny gee-gees " were a pair of 
goats in a little carriage, and the boy 
they belonged to, eager for a hire, stood 

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THE BLUE BABY 

erinm,^ beside the imperious young 

Jdy.msp,te of poor nurse's endeavomf 
to get past him and so to take her 

We feit sorry for her, and charmed 
^ ^^ were by the baby's beauty we 
could not help murmuring- ^ 
" What a spoilt little nerson I " 
There were not many people about- 
« was early-_„d nurse, a pleasant. 
Z^^ ^'«»°"*-ftced young woman 
turned to us for the sympathy she mus 
have seen was ready for her. 

said with ""f "'"' ""'•^""■"d." she 
^d wuh a glance at the goat-carriage 

cart, for her mamma said it wasn't to 

^;2r %°'''"P='P*'^-'^"'her 
^emselves. It's no good his following 

"'. '^^*''«7«°"'y tantalises the child." 

Our eldest" turned, and in a few 
^ear words put the case befo« the boy 

He grmned again, but moved on. Not 
»-a» to the grin-the Blue Baby! 

6 






THE BLUE BABY 

though the ** moving on " took place as 
speedily, in the opposite direction from 
the goats of course, as nurse could 
manage. 

But Missie was furious. She stood 
up, or as nearly so as she could, for, 
her venerable age of three or there- 
abouts notwithstanding^ she was securely 
strapped in, and very necessarily toa— 
she stood up and scolded, as I have 
never heard a baby scold before or since. 
There were no tears nor any sign of 
them in the eyes, now sparkling as if 
there were blue flames inside them ; the 
little voice was as clear as a bell, but oh, 
how she scolded ! 

" You naughty old 'ooman, — naughty 
old 'ooman. Her'll tell mamma, her'U 
tell papay her will. And you'll be put 
in the corner for ebber always, ugly 
naughty nurse. And her'll zide with 
the tiny gee-gees away away, and nebber 
come back. I 'zink you'll be put in 
p'ison — naughty, naughty'' 

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THE BLUE BABY 

^Jhe^poor woman looked perfectly 

"Oil, Missie,"shesaM «^ u 

tiii we get hom . YoShav ''"""^ 

round us." ' "^ " "ave a crowd 

Mator makTr "^ '° ""' P^""- 

-.%;•■ S"^r°ini\?r°^r 

«»« not speak so loud/" "' ^^'^ 

The bJue eyes opened wide v. 
""de. and stared up at h., ^ 

ordinary surprise, ml // '" ^''*"- 

f friendly 'but serltt'S'" 
down at her. who can sayrB^Hn"^ 
baby instinct inspired W w '. 
curp sense of dignity. I.^^J 

ww;^:^'t?^ro:/^'? 



THE BLUE BABY 

"How do?" she said. "Dood 
mornin*. Kite welJ, tank 'oo," and 
then, '* 'Do on, nursie," and our eldest 
realised that the audience was over, as 
the perambulator, with a grateful glance 
from its propellor, moved on. 

I don't know if our eldest felt small ; 
I had not the courage to inquire. But 
if ever she did, I feel pretty sure it was 
on that occasion. 

After that, we were always meeting 
the blue baby. That we had not done 
so before, was simply owing to the fact 
that she had only just arrived at Wave- 
beach — that morning was her debut on 
the esplanade. She was so clearly to be 
seen that you couldn't pass her without 
noticing her ; indeed, she could be per- 
ceived ever so far ofF. And she knew 
us again, oh dear yes, from the very 
first she knew us again. Perhaps our 
entirely black dresses had to do with it, 
but I strongly suspect she would have 
known us— our eldest, especially— how- 

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THE BLUE BABY 
ever we had he»n j 
l-ays smikd. Then"^- "^ "■' 

tne way of si-nn,^; S°^ »nto 

«W when rC' I'St, '° -" 
7 'Jway, most iaci "' ^""^ 
•Imost have imagin^lTT'"' ~"''' 
P*=ious because^he „^^ ' "^^ «*" 
°-«-meetL7irehTer'""^°'«« 
^^Wfrne, she wouid give „.,„,,. 

«-e,:fl3':--°-eise. whose 

"done aw,y-way"M°. "'*'': °"'' '""^ 
h»nd uplifted aj;^ '"* *' ««'e 

5'^eh':a^r„dt„tsS'''.f 

"away-wav for -ku "^* """e'nable, 
/ way ,or ebber alwavs" ni 

«by knew much morp f I, f ~"'"* 
"bout the future Ih """^^P*"?!* 
frantic with excLm. ^ T ''"^ '^ ^^ 
- 'he distan^^S:^ " '"^ '^'^ ^ 

f°'ellusthat •.ewasr"'"*"°"S'' 

« was going a « ^^^^^^ 



THE BLUE BABY 

zidcy mf the tiny gcc-gecs. Dadda 
was tummin to took her." 

And sure enough that very afternoon, 
when we were driving past, we caught 
sight of the bright blue speck behind 
two goats, with a tall figure as well as 
nurse walking beside her. We felt 
more than half inclined to give up 
our drive for the sake of following 
her up and down and watching her 
delight. 

She was too fascinating. Never once 
did we hear or see her cry — though we 
knew she could scold. It was her royal 
condescension that charmed us most. I 
can see her now — little hand waving, 
little face aglow as she caught sight of 
us, and beaming all over with the 
pleasure she meant to give us. 

"You may kit me," she would say 
sometimes. But only on special occa- 
sions, such as our humble offerine 
or a small posy for her gracious accep- 
tance, or the day on which we told her 

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THE BLUE BABY 

we must say goodbye_we we« l„ • 
the next morning. " '""""8 

"-; majeihfr'crc r ""'"■ 

»nd couJd onJv be ^. ^ f °'"' ^Y"' 

•* I don-tk„r"vy"V ■""""" "f 
ii.now, my sweet.*' 

1 ftough in our hearts we HJH u 
was goodbye ««for ebb^^.Iw»\"^7^ 
Blue Babv— a U,t. i. J^ '° 'he 

asain , J '»''y she would never be 

'-g^onirthar"'''^''"'--'*^ 

--her';:\£„7gtr;^--' 

For we h;^ . ^ ^'^ woman. 

She :L':n^"^ir"'r "—■ 

B^by." I Lw^- I °''°"'"Blue 
Wher as'r„ 1;^;^-^ --ted to 
^o-id have St 1''''' '°'»'''°'^ it 
queerness of oTfr-Z^''"''^ ^^^ 



12 



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THE BLUE BABY 



Part II 

It was years and years after. 

We were no longer " very young " 

none of us. And some were "away- 
way " : out in India, tea-planting or 
sheep-farming or far out in the world 
somewhere ; others, at home still, but 
in their own homes, busy and absorbed 
with the cares and interests that in one 
sense separate the members of a large 
family, in another, and that the deepest 
perhaps, draw them more together in 
sympathy for each other. 

Only "our eldest" and I were still 
together. And to her, I suppose, I, as 
the youngest, did still seem young. 

And one year, quite unexpectedly, 
some turn of the v/heel brought us two 
to Wavebeach again. We did not care 
much for the place ; we had no special 
reason for coming there — I don't quite 
remember why we did come. But all 

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THE BLUE BABY 

"»y. fifteen year, bS "' '^*'^'- 
found ourselv« *' "' °"« day 

-Joyed s.^tr:?'*? -^-e 

•--y, .re. il if , --• There 
''ow it is so anH r** *o think 

"^way, ch..,^;.?" »"' ''"'^ they are 

o^-nr.i^'-'-S- tailing 

•^ch. and feforT,o„r ''''' " W"^- 
theBiueBaby ^'''«°''oundto 

"Dear little Blue Babv r •- r 
; """ghty. sweet Blue b!k ^ ^ '^"^■ 
fe' wo- surprised Ni„;^-'^o«W X"" 
«w the blue s^t ' "''""^denly 
di't^nce and thlutV^'T^-g '" *^ 

^-'«^i? Asoro7;2 'prt.!"«' 



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^airy BJue Babi 






THE BLUE BABY 

"'Not grown up into a little girl,"* 
repeated our eldest. " My dear child, 
you are forgetting. It is fifteen year^ 
ago. Blue Baby must be a young lady, 
a " come out " young lady, most likely,* 
for she was three then." 

" Oh dear ! " I said, sadly. " Yes, I 
forgot." And soon after we went in. 
It was getting rather chilly. 

But the next morning it was bright 
and sunny again, and so, luckily for us. 
It continued during our short stay at 
the place. Wc were out-of-doors a 
great deal—generally on the esplanade, 
which suited us, as it was mild enough 
to sit down when we felt tired, and we 
got the sea-breezes and the sea-view, 
the only thing to view at Wavebeach,' 
as the country inland is not pretty, and 
further along the coast where it is more 
picturesque is too far to walk to often. 
So the esplanade did very well. 
The few days we were to stay passed 
quickly. It was the last morning but 

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THE BLUE BABY 
the weathers; -^ -f-Wng, and 

bnght sky-blue, and at once If / 
«y^elf thinking of ou/bC bL^""' 
How absurd!" I exclaLed. 

-eT-^ljrr,;'""^^ o- -mories 
iust h,T V "^ -""J' ''''^ '^hat had 

el aT/o .• ""^ ''" "°' « °-e 
own ' °°'""g "P. I "w that her 

IZT ^''' S'^'"e before them m 
a questioning way 

s7'''VV'' ^'"'' • " ^ =«ked. 
^ne smiJed. 

of blL" It is'"'"-^''^ "''*'" "'^"-h 

;7- ." '"^°"'"e towards US. Yes 

-'t .s just the baby's colour ■^!l 

forget-me-not blue." '=°'our-reai 

1(5 



THE BLUE BABY 

An (^dd, dreamy fading came over 
'^e. vVe both walked on without 
speakmg, and by degrees the blue speck 
took shape and size. It was— part of 
It— a large sky-blue knot or bow, of 
ribbon or silk, in front of a girl's hat, 
and there was more of the same colour 
below— about her neck— a shawl or soft 
scarf of some pretty stufF thrown round 
her, and this larger spot of colour must 
have been what had first caught my 
eyes m the sunshine. And as it came 
nearer we saw that the wearer was in 
a bath-chair. 

Scarcely an invalid surely .? The face 
that we gradually distinguished was too 
bright and sunny for that. She was 
talking eagerly and smilingly to some 
one walking beside her-a discreet- 
looking, middle-aged maid, with a 
rather anxious, though amiable expres- 
sion of face. And oh, how pretty her 
young charge was ! 
Without a word to each other. 



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THE BLUE BABY 

slackened our steps, and, hardly knowing 
that we did so, came to a stand just as 
the bath-chair approached us. We 
could hear what the girl was saying. 

" Yes—yes— I cio remember, though 
^ was only three. It was just here that 

She stopped short. Something in 
our way of standing or looking struck 
her. She glanced at us— then at her 
maid— and then at us again. 

It may have been an extraordinary 
thing to do, no doubt it was— but 
somehow I could not help it. I knew 
I was right. 

"Oh," I cried, with a little start 
forward, « are you— yes, you musf be, 
our Blue Baby," and at the same 
moment the nurse exclaimed— 

" Missie, missie, the ladies in black ! " 

Out came a white-gloved hand— out 

came the dimples we remembered of 

old— we nearly kissed her there and 

then. 

I8 



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THE BLUE BABY 

" My ladies ! " she exclaimed. '♦ Yes, 
yes, I remember you. And you re- 
member me ! Fancy, I have never 
been here since ! Fow lovely of you 
to have known me again ! " 

" But— you are not ill .? " said Nina, 
when we had a little recovered our- 
selves. 

*'Oh no, only a sprained ankle. 
They sent me down here with nursie 
for sea-baths to strengthen it. * 111 ' — no 
—I'm never ill. But, dear ladies, when 
can I see you again .? To-day, I cannot, 
as my people want me to drive over 
to see friends at Covebay. But to- 
morrow .' *' 

" To-morrow .? " Alack and alas, we 
were leaving to-morrow, and by the first 
train. We told her so. 

" It is too bad," she said, with a touch 
of the old imperiousness — " too bad, and 
I only came yesterday. But we mustn't 
lose sight of each other again. Oh 
dear, what a naughty baby I was ! I 

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THE BLUE BABY 

must earn myself a better character. 
Oh dear, is that twelve, striking akeady > 
1 must go for that stupid bath. Have 

you a card, dear Miss— Mrs ? " 

"Only *Miss,'" said Nina. "Our 
married ones ar- not here. Yes, here is 
our address." 

"And you are sometimes in London 
aren t you ? Here is mine,'' and she 
scribbled .ome lines on a scrap of paper 
she tore out of a dainty pocket-book, 
mmise, promise to come to see me. 
My father and mother would be 
delighted." 

So we parted-but, would you believe 
It, between us, we /ost the scrap of 
paper ? Nina was sure / had it, and I 
was sure she had it. And we had no 
further vision of blue, though we stayed 
out late in the afternoon on the chance 
ot her having returned from her drive 
and being again in her chair. 

The winter following that lovely 
autumn we spent out of England-it 

20 



ffj 






THE BLUE BABY 

was not till the nej.c April but one that 
we were settled at home again. And 
letters do miscarry when you are moving 
about. But very soon after our return 
there came one — 

" Why have you never written to me, 
or come to see me, dear ladies .? I have 
written to you twice. Will this reach 
you, I wonder.? I am going to be 
married. You must come," and en- 
closed was the invitation. 

Dear faithful Blue Baby! 

We could not go to the marriage, 
much as we wished. That was four 
years ago now. 

But we have been spending this season 
in London. To-day is my birthday. 
She found it out, and a tiny darling in 
blue has just trotted in to see me, with 
a great bunch of forget-me-nots and 
"lots of kisses from mamma" — our 
Blue Baby ! 



21 



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BARREL-ORGAN 

Part I 



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I 




AMMAS are 
very kind 
people and of 
course they 
always wani to 
make their little 
beys and girls 
happy and never 
to make them 
«»happy, unless any of the children 
have done wrong, and it is needful, for 
their own good, to find fault with them. 
But even the kindest of mammas 
may sometimes make a mistake. No 
one can quite see into anybody else's 
heart — even into a child's heart — and 
words may be said which trouble and 

25 



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. :{!- rl «-i 

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THE MONKEY ON 
distress those we love best without our 
meaning ,t in the very least 

Nel^'she' """k" ""'' «"' °'"«<1 
Z l' _, *'" "'^ »''°ut six years old 

that Nella-except in holiday time- 
-- a good deal alone in the'nu^V 
And nurse was rather old-too old to 

be much of a companion to the hild 

that she could scarcely trust the liSe 

Nel a s father and mother were not 
very neh and they had several children 
so they had always plenty to do w "h 

tZ ;"r;, ^"'^ ""-• -ho had 
Jived with them so many years that 

she seemed almost like a relatio^. w^ 

26 



/ 



1 



i 



THE BARREL-ORGAN 

very anxious to be saving and careful ; 
perhaps a little too anxious, Nella's 
mamma used to tell her sometimes. 

One of the ways in which the good 
old woman tried to save money was by 
doing a great deal of needlework at 
home. She made nearly everything 
that Nella wore, and some things that 
the elder girls wore too. But though 
her sewing was still very neat and firm, 
in spite of her eyesight beginning to 
fail a little, her ideas were rather old- 
fashioned, and she thought far rnore of 
frocks and jackets being *' useful and 
likely to wear well than of their being 
smart or pretty. 

So Lucy and Rachel and Moira, the 
three big ones, did not very much 
approve of home-made garments, and 
of late their mother had ordered their 
things at a dressmaker's, telling nurse 
that she had quite enough to do in 
making for Nella, and in mending for 
the others. And even for Nella, 

V 





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THE MONKEY ON 

mamma had given nurse a little hinf 
Jough she w„ very afraid Xi 

to nurse one day. '.che ic 
destructive child f ,he t,dl T " 
or spots her things." ^""^ ''"^ 

"No, indeed," said nu«e. "Mis, 
Nella ,s very careful-it's a pity ther^ 
not another youne ladv f. ^ 5 
her foi. k ./. ^ ^y '° <=ome after 
her, for her things are nearly as good as 

new when I m forced to let hJrleaSem 
offjust by her growing out of them" 

Mamma smiled. I fancy she thou^h^ 
four girls and three boys we« In u 
without another after Nella "^^ 

" Well, then, let us give her some 
^h.ng pretty for her best'winter fr^^: 
sne said. You can choose it the firlt 
time you go into Whiteford. " 

28 



THE BARREL-ORGAN 

For Nclla's mother knew nothing 
pleased nurse so much as to be trusted 
to do some shopping, and it was not 
often she had a chance of this, as White- 
ford, the nearest town, was some miles off. 

Nurse considered. 

"There's that blue skirt of Miss 
Moira's, that's too short for her, 
ma'am," she said. ** It's really very 
good — if I was to get something to 
go with it for a bodice — it's quite the 
fashion to have a variety, I'm told — it 
wouldn't cost much — I can wash the 
skirt beautiful ; merino washes like 
linen — and it's a nice bright blue." 

"All right," said mamma, pleased 
that nurse seemed to fall in with the 
idea. " Nella can stand some bright 
colour with her dark hair and eyes 
and pale face, poor little woman. I 
wish she had some more in her cheeks, 
like the other girls." 

For Nella's elder sisters were all 
strong and rosy-looking. 

29 






- ) :, 



-J n ■: 



THE MONKEY ON 

Skin, said nurse. " She mayn't have 
such red cheeks as som« children, but 
there s quite a look about her " 

Nurse never liked any one to think 
her baby «,as less to be admired than 
the others ! 

Some days passed. Nurse had been 
to Whiteford and came back very 
pleksed with her purchases. And she 
was even more busy than usual with 
scissors and needle and thimble for the 
rest of the week. 

. P"''»y/« Lucy's birthday, and in 
honour of it there was to be a little 
afternoon party. It was autumn-too 
cold for tea out-of-doors, but not for 
garden games. So the entertaimnent 
began outside, though the children were 
to have tea in the dining-room and 
hnish by indoor amusements. And 
though Nella was much younger than 
any of the guests. Lucy begged that she 
too might be at the birthday tea. 

30 



-I- • 



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,!■ '■ 



( ' 



THE BARREL-ORGAN 

They were all in the garden — mamma 
too, as one or two other mammas had 
brought their little girls themselves, 
when Moira made a sudden exclamation. 

"Oh, mamma," she said, "do look at 
Nella." 

Mamma looked up. Nella was 
coming towards them across the lawn, 
and it must be aUowed she was a queer 
little figure. The bright blue skirt, 
made rather full and bunchy, was 
trimmed with two or three rows of 
black velvet, and so was a rather tight- 
fitting scarlet bodice fastened with gilt 
buttons. Nella's hair, which was short 
and dark, made her head look very 
small, and she wore a round black 
velvet cap which was the crowning 
eflTort of nurse's genius. 

"Good gracious!" exclaimed Lucy, 
growing rather red. ''Who has been 
dressing her like that .? " 

And mamma, though she laughed, 
felt vexed too. 

31 



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THE MONKEY ON 

"It is old nurse," she explained to 
the lady beside her ; and as Nella stole 
up, feeling rather shy, she added half 
thoughtlessly to Lucy, -Really she does 
look exactly like a monkey on a barrel- 
organ ! " 

Mamma did not mean Nella to hear 
but Nella did hear. And all that after- 
noon ^ the words kept coming back to 
her, « like a monkey on a barrel-organ." 
She had never seen a monkey and she 
could not think what a barrel-organ 
meant, and for some reason which she 
could not have explained she did not 
uke to ask. 

But the puzzle in her mind made her 
seem very dull and silent. For she had 
a strange feeling that though mamma 
was just as kind and loving to her as 
ever--even more so, perhaps, for she 
felt sorry for her little girl-there was 
somethmg queer about her herself 
Now and then a smile passed between 
her sisters, and once she heard Rachel 

32 






i 



i 

i 

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■1 



THE BARREL-ORGAN 

say to Lucy in a half-whisper something 
about its being "redly too bad," and 
"making us all ridiculous." 

What did it mean? Nurse had 
turned her round and round after she 
was dressed and toid her she did " look 
a smart little lady." And she had 
come out to the garden feeling very 
proud of her new clothes, though a little 
shy too. Anything new or strange 
always made Nella shy. But mamma 
had said nothing about her frock—no 
one had. Only those strange words, 
"a monkey on a barrel-organ," kept 
sounding in her ears. 

She might perhaps have asked nurse 
about it when she went up to bed, but 
as it happened, for once, nurse was not 
there, as she was downstairs helping 
with the little supper which was to end 
the party, and only a young under- 
servant came to undress her. Mamma 
had kissed her fondly when she said 
good-night, and Nella heard her say 

33 D 






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THE MONKEY ON 

something to Rachel, who was looking 
rather cross, like " Yes, yes, see about 
it to-morrow. You must not interfere." 
And when to-morrow morning came, 
poor nurse was ill — that is to say she 
had one of her bad headaches, which 
often followed her having done too 
much. So Nella said nothing to any 
one about the puzzle in her innocent 
little mind. 



Part II 

Nurse's headache grew worse as the 
morning went on. Mamma came up- 
stairs to see her and told her that she 
really must lie down in a darkened 
room. 

" I am sure," she said, " the pain 
comes partly from straining your eyes, 
nurse. You must not do so much 
needlework." 

Poor nurse was suffering so, that she 
34 



THE BARREL-ORGAN 

had not the spirit to say, as she generally 
did, that she was quite sure she never 
made herself ill by too much work of 
any kind, and for once she gave in to 
taking a rest. 

"Nella, dear," said her mother, 
turning to the little girl, "you must 
try to amuse yourself this morning as 
best you can. Nurse may be better by 
this afternoon, or perhaps you can go a 
walk with your sisters after their lessons 
are over. But it would be a pity for 
you to stay indoors all the morning— it 
is such a nice mild day you can play 
about the garden, I think." 

"Yes, mamma," said Nella. "I'll 
do up my own garden. It's not very 
neat just now." 

She looked up half wistfully in her 
mother's face as she spoke. It was on 

the tip of her tongue to say 

" Mamma, why did you speak of me 
that funny way, and what is a barrel- 
organ ? " 

35 



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THE MONKEY ON 

For she thought she knew what a 
monkey was like, as she had seen 
pictures of monkeys. 

But just as she was beginning to 
speak, her mother, who was busy and 
hurried, said quickly — 

" What is it, dear ? I must not stay 
just now. Be a good little girl this 
morning, and if nurse is not better by 
the afternoon we must think of some- 
thing to amuse you. Run off now and 
get your hat and jacket." 

So the chance was lost. 

Nella's " own garden " was in a 
piece of half wild ground near the gate, 
though it could not be seen by passers- 
by, as the shrubs grew thickly between 
it and the drive. It suited her very 
well, for as no one came there unless she 
invited them she could carry out her 
own fancies in her garden without being 
told that she " really must keep it tidy." 
And besides this, it was close to the wall, 
which was not a high one, and Nella's 

36 



THE BARREL-ORGAN 

brother Mark had made steps in it for 
her by loosening two or three bricks, so 
that she could easily climb up it and 
look over at anything passing on the 
road, if she got tired of gardening. 

This was very pleasant, and she could 
always hear when any cart or carriage or 
drove of cattle or anything interesting 
was coming along, in time to get up to 
her watch tower, as Mark called it. 

This morning she gardened away for 
some time very industriously, not think- 
ing very much of anything but what she 
was doing, though these strange words 
that she had overheard were still as fresh 
as ever in her m'nd. 

Suddenly she caught the sound of 
something unusual in the road — 
children's voices, laughing and shouting, 
though still at some distance, and mixed 
with them another voice, gruff and 
strange, came gradually to be distin- 
guished. Evidently there was some 
excitement going on, and as Nclla was 

37 



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THE MONKEY ON 

getting rather tired of her gardening, 
she thought it a good time to climb up 
and see what it was all about. 

But for some minutes she could see 
nothing but a group in the middle of 
the road, slowly moving towards where 
she was, while the cries and little shrieks 
of laughter and the queer grufF voice 
were still to be heard. 

Now I must explain that what 
happened was not merely a curious 
" coincidence," as it is called— in other 
words a « fitting-in " sort of chance. 
The words which had so struck Nella, 
" like a mc key on a barrel-organ," had 
been put ito her mother's head by 
having mcj an organ-man and a monkey 
that very morning when she had driven 
to White/ord with Lucy, and as it was 
rather an out-of-the-way part of the 
country, such travellers in the road were 
rare, and therefore all the more noticed. 
And now the organ-grinder, a poor 
Savoyard with a rough voice and black- 

38 



( 



THE BARREL-ORGAN 

bearded face — though if you had looked 
at him closely you would have seen that 
his eyes were kind and sad — which 
made him seem fierce and strange, had 
made his way along the high-road past 
the village near which was Nella's home. 

He and the monkey had spent the 
night in the outhouse of a very poor 
little inn in the outskirts of the town, 
and now the Savoyard's intention was to 
stroll onwards till he came to a railway 
station some miles further off. He was 
thinking to himself that there was not 
*^uch to be picked up in these solitary 
country places, and that he would do 
better to keep more to the large towns, 
where, too, he sometimes met a fellow- 
countryman, or at least now and then 
some passer-by who understood his 
language. 

But though a penny or two was all he 
had got in his long walk that day, he 
was too good-natured to drive away the 
children that had followed him out of 

39 



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THE MONKEY ON 

the village, and as it was Saturday, a 
holiday, there were a lot of them. 

He was pleased for poor Jacko— or 
w'latever he called his monkey— to be 
admired ; it kept up the little creature's 
spirits, and the shrieks and laughing 
Nella heard came from his ordering the 
monkey in his gruff voice from time to 
time to jump on to some boy's shoulder, 
or catch hold of some little girl's 
apron. 

When he came within a nearer distance 
of Nella's home, he caught sight— for 
his black eyes were very keen— of a 
small figure on the wall, and said to 
himself that here there would be more 
chance of some gains, so he stopped 
short and uncovered his organ and 
prepared to « pipe up " for the young 
lady s benefit, while he let out Jacko's 
chain to the end, ready to send him up 
to her if she seemed to wish it. 

But poor Nella ! 

She scarcely noticed the man at first— 
40 



k : 



THE BARREL-ORGAN 



all her attention was taken up by the 
monkey — and by the monkey's clothes. 

She knew at once that he was a 
monkey ; that very morning, though no 
one knew it, she had peeped at the 
picture of one, in her coloured book of 
animals, and she saw the likeness. 

We all know the queer mixture of 
the comical with something strangely 
sad about these poor little beasts — 
caricatures of human beings. 

But all Nella felt when she saw the 
small brown wizened-up face, the queer 
sharp eyes, the low forehead, was a sort 
of terror. Above nil, when her eyes fell 
on the scarlet jacket trimmed with black, 
and the bright blue ski; ^^ ornamented in 
the same way — on tae _.;ilt buttons and 
round velvet cap, she could scarcely 
keep back a scream. 

Was this what mamma meant ? Was 
she, Nella, like this dreadful little 
creature .? 

She forgot all about the " barrel- 
41 



M; 



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I 






THE MONKEY ON 

organ," though up till now she had had 
some confused idea in her head of a 
barrel ^^ cask -roiling along the 
ground with a monkey sitting on it • 
she did not even ht\ frightened of thJ 
black-whiskered and bearded man— all 
she saw, all she thought of was the 
monkey ! 

She must have made some sort of 
exclamation without knowing it, for the 
man looked up with a smile. He 
thought she was calling to the monkey, 
and he gave him a sort of lift or fling 
callmg out something in his gruff 
strange voice which meant « Up, Jacko 
—climb up." 

And Jacko, trained by kindness to 
perfect obedience, in another moment 
^ scrambling up the wall towards 
Nella. 

She saw him coming-for an instant 
she was too stupefied to move, or even 
to scream. Then-when he was almost 
upon her— with a loud cry, she turned, 

43 



If 



THE BARREL-ORGAN 

and not looking where she was going, 
caring for nothing except to get away, 
she half jumped, half flung herself oflF * 
the wall. 



111 



Part III 

Nella did not hurt herself much by her 
fall. At first she thought she had not 
hurt herself at all. She felt giddy and 
stupid for a moment, but only for a 
moment. For almost instantly after the 
shock came back the terror of the 
monkey, and she sprang up and set off 
running, without thinking of where she 
was going or of anything except the 
little brown-faced beastie in the blue 
skirt and scarlet jacket. 

She need not have been afraid of his 
following her. His chain was far too 
short to allow of his coming over the 
wall, and his master had no wish to let 
him out of his sight. As soon as he — the 

43 



H 




THE MONKEY ON 

organ-man— saw that the little girl had 
disappeared, he gave a tug to the chain, 
which made obedient Jacko at once hop 
back to his seat on the barrel-organ, and 
with a sigh or grunt of disappointment, 
the pair set off again on the weary 
journey along the road. 

And one by one the village children 
dfopped off. They had no halfpence 
to give, or at least they had given all 
they had, and it was not very amusing to 
follow the monkey and his master now 
that there was no sign of any more 
funny tricks being played. 

But silly little Nella ran and ran, till 
she was so completely out of breath that 
she was forced to stop. And even when 
she did so, her first glance was over her 
shoulder to see if Jacko was in pursuit 
No-there was nothing to be seen, so 
she ventured to sit down on a tree- 
stump standing near. And then she 
began to feel sore and stiff, for she was 
bruised in a good many places, though 

44 



i 



THE BARREI--ORGAN 

luckily not on her head. She looked 
round her as she sat rubbing her poor 
elbows and knees — she did not know 
where she was. The place looked 
strange to her, though it was only 
another part of the wood into which 
the shrubberies of her father's grounds 
ran on one side. But she was a very 
little girl, remember, barely six years 
old, and she had been sadly upset since 
the day before. It was no wonder that 
her mind and ideas were confused and 
quite out of reason. 

Afterwards — when she had grown up 
to be a big girl, she looked back to this 
time and tried to explain to herself 
what she had thought and feared. But 
she could never get it quite clear. 
There was some misty dread in her 
mind that if she could see herself she 
would find that she had turned into a 
monkey, or that if she was again dressed 
in her blue and red dress she would 
become one. Mamma must have had 

45 



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THE MONKEY ON 
something in her head to make her say 
those words And she hod looked at 
her differently from usual-the truth 
Jemg that her mother had felt sorry S 

^y poor old nurse's want of taste. Nella 

but I mj^lf cannot help thinking that 

he must have known «„,, or evefoj; 

M. t ^^^-'^^'^ »nd boys and 

And w! '""*'* '"'^ fr°6» °^ birds 
And besides all these confused id«^ 

LnrmL^r-'^-o^POorJ^^ 
WownX-th^l.'^-X^^j 

once caught hold of her. she wouWhaS 

not^toT"''"'^'!'^''^""'" 'he dared 
^k to th . """' '''' ""^'l »<>' go 
h^ve found her way there. Where to 
go she d.d not know. I am not sure thit 

46 



THE BARREL-ORGAN 

she tried to think. Her only idea was 
where not to go. So ofF she set again, 
though not as fast as before, for she was 
tired now, as well as sore and stifF. 

On she went, running, though slowly, 
in a half-blind way, though not crying, 
and every now and then coming to a 
standstill for a few minutes, and some- 
times sitting down to rest. I don't 
know what she was thinking about— 
I asked her once, long after, if she 
expected to come to Red Riding Hood's 
cottage or the White Cat's Castle, but 
she smiled and said she could not 
remember. 

And after running a good long way 
she must have sat down to r t again 
and leant her head against a tree, for 
this was how she was seen by the first 
people that passed that way— fast asleep ! 

She was at the edge of the wood by 
this time— not the high-road, but on a 
side which was skirted by a lane, and 
this lane led to the parsonage. 

47 



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THE MONKEY ON 

And the people who found her were 
the vicar and his daughter Violet, a girl 
of about twelve, a friend of Nella's 
sisters. 

They had been talking to some one in 
the lane— who that was I will tell you 
directly — when Violet caught sight 
through the branches of the small figure 
at the foot of an old tree, and darted 
forward to see what it was — some village 
child who had hurt itself she thought at 
first. But in a moment her cry " Papa, 
it's Nella— poor little Nella Raymond— 
and she looks so white and strange," 
brought her father to her side, across 
the dry ditch. And the third person 
in the lane — perhaps I should say the 
third and fourth persons — followed, 
wondering what the young lady was 
saying — and they were none other than 
Jacko and his master ! 

They had found their way to the 
vicarage, the front of which faced the 
high-road, and there they had been 

48 



|s« 



THE BARREL-ORGAN 

kindly treated, as the vicar could speak 
to the organ-man in his own language 
and heard his pitiful story, and saw for 
himself that there was no harm in the 
poor fellow, fierce as he looked. And 
now he had been directing him by a 
short cut to the town where he could 
travel on by the railway. 

So aJmost the first thing Nella's eyes 
saw when Violet's cry awoke her was 
tne monkey ! 

How she screamed, poor little girl ! 
Ihey had hard work to pacify her. 
And only when the kind vicar took her 
up m his arms himself and let her hold 
on to him tight did she leave ofl^ shaking 
and shivering. ° 

J/, thought-till afterwards, when 
the whole ridiculous but pitifiil little 

that the child was simply frightened of 
the monkey, never having seen one 
l^fore And knowing how bad it is to 
leave httle people with unexplained and 

49 E 



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••^v|'1 






ri'-W I M ni M i l li 



THE MONKEY ON 

foolish fears in their fancies, he talked 
to her very gently, and told her that 
poor Jacko would never hurt her, any 
more than the organ-man himself, so 
that by degrees her terror left her, and 
she ventured to give the monkey a 
penny, which Violet*s father found in 
his pocket. 

But all the same she was very glad 
when the two went off, the Savoyard 
grinning with gratitude and showing 
his white teeth through his bushy mous- 
tache and beard, while Jacko grinned 
too and lifted his velvet cap in fare- 
well. 

Her kind friends took Nella home 
with them, the little girl clinging 
tightly still to the vicar's hand, and on 
the way she tried to tell all that had 
happened. 

Violet una. stood pretty well, because 
she had been at the party the day before 
and had seen the funny dress Nella had 
worn. And between her and her father, 

50 



5 •; 




•1 






* 



THE BARREL-ORGAN 

and mother, who came out to meet them, 
and was very, very kind too, poor Nella 
gradually became more like herself 
again. 

They sent at once to her home, to 
say that she was safe with them, and as 
soon as she could get to the vicarage 
Mrs. Raymond herself came to fetch 
her. 

" My poor darling," she said, as she 
put her arms round Nella, and kissed 
her fondly. '♦ You must promise me 
never to get fancies like that into your 
mind without telling me, so that I can 
prevent you being frightened. My poor 
little Nella." 
And Nelia felt quite happy. 
But what became of the blue and 
scarlet dress she never knew— and how 
her mamma managed not to hurt nurse's 
feelings about it does not much matter. 
Any way, Nella never saw it again, and 
the next time a wandering organ-grinder 
with a monkey passed that way, she 

5' 



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THE MONKEY 

behaved like a sensible kind little girl to 
the poor things. 

She did not even mind when mamma 
now and then called her with a smile. 
** My own little monkf.y ! " 




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ENJY was only 
five years old. 
But you would 
be surprised if 
I were to tell 
you how many 
useful things 
he could do 
already, though 
he was so young. He did not think 
himself so young ; he thought he was 
nearly grown up, for you see he did 
seem big compared with Lizzie, who 
was only two, and still bigger com- 
pared with baby brother Fred, who had 
not had one birthday yet, and could not 
of course be expected to do anything 
but laugh and crow when he was 
pleased, and cry when he was not. 
He did not often cry, for he was a 
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BENJY'S FAIRY 

good-tempered baby, and besides that, 
he had so many people to take care of 
him and be good to him. Mother first 
of aJI, and father when he was at home, 
and Benjy himself. Benjy was very 
kind and gentle to both baby Fred and 
Lizzie, and they loved him dearly. 

Benjy *s home was half-way up a hill 
—a little cottage perched by itself with 
a tiny bit of garden all on a slope, and 
one or two fields all on a slope too. 
Benjy 's father was away at work all 
day, and though mother was not away 
she worked very hard at home. For 
besides the three children she had 
several other — no, I cannot say people — 
what can I say ?— to take care of. I 
will tell you who they were and then 
you can settle. They were Ruddy the 
cow, and Billy the pony, and a whole 
lot of cocks and hens, not to speak of a 
beautiful, big tom-cat, who was never 
called anything but "Pussy." 

Mother used to drive to market once 
56 



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BENJY'S FAIRY 

a week with fresh eggs to sell, and 
sometimes fresh butter and now and 
then vegetables and even a little fruit. 
Mother was very clever about all 
country things, nearly as clever as 
father, who was gardener at Holly 
Lodge, to old Miss Needham. Billy 
was very useful for drawing the cart, 
and besides the work he did for Benjy's 
father and mother, he was very often 
hired out by the neighbours, and in the 
summer-time when visitors came to the 
village at the foot of the hill he was 
hired to take little boys and girls about 
in a pair of panniers. 

Billy was very gentle but just a little 
stupid, for he was getting old. He 
spent his life at home in the fields 
behind the cottage, and sometimes he 
would stroll further, climbing up the 
hillside for the sake of a little company 
perhaps, as there were often other 
ponies grazing there, and a good many 
sheep, too, scattered about. 

57 



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BENJY'S FAIRY 

One of the things Bcnjy was useful 
in was fetching Billy home in the 
evening, for it would not have done to 
let him stay out all night, and there was 
a nice little shed in the corner of the 
field nearest the house, where he was 
quite cosy and warm. 

Generally Billy was very good about 
coming home; he knew Benjy's call 
quite well. 

But one evening a naughty fit came 
over him. I must teJl you about it. 

It was in the autumn, and up 
among the hills the afternoons get 
quickly chilly at that time of year 
The sun goes to bed early— or at least 
he seems to do so, for the hills hide him 
from v^ew. 

Benjy came in from school one day 
about four o'clock, feeling rather cold 
and quite ready for his tea. He had 
been at school-the infant school— for 
nearly a year now. Mother was stand- 
ing at the door looking out for him 

58 



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BENJY'S FAIRY 
••Benjy love," she said, "put down 
your books and fetch old Billy in, 
there's a good boy. I can't see him, 
he must have gone round the clifF 
corner, and there are some strange 
ponies grazing there. He might stray 
away, for he is getting so blind." 

Off set Benjy, hoping to bring the 
old pony home in five minutes. Yes, 
there he was~Benjy soon caught sight 
of him— and a little further off were 
the other ponies mother had spoken 
of. 

" Billy, good Billy, come home, good 
Billy," said the little boy. 

Billy heard him and stood quite still 
till Benjy was close to him, then, 
naughty old Billy, off he trotted, stop- 
ping again just as if he wanted to tease 
Benjy, kicking up his heels and starting 
away again whenever the child drew 
near. 

And this he did several times — the 
other ponies enjoying the fun and scam- 

59 






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BENJY'S FAIRY 
pmng about too. I am afraid they 
had been putting mischief into the old 
fellow's head. 

Poor Benjy ! he soon grew very 
tired, for he was a tiny boy after all, 
and very hot, for he was rather fat and 
his legs were short. 

_^ "Oh, Billy," he called out at last, 
you re a werry naughty pony. 1 
dunno what to do," and it was ^1 he 
could manage not to cry. 

Down below on the broad, level road 
leadmg to the village a girl was pass- 
■ng-a pretty girl with a nice cloak 
tnmmed with fur, and a scarlet feather 
m her smart little hat. 

She heard the child's voice and stood 
still to hsten and to look. 

It did not take long for her to see 
what was the matter. She was tall and 
strong but nimble too. Up the hill- 
side she climbed, her footfall making 
no sound on the short thymy grass- 
then quick as thought she got between 

60 










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BENJY'S FAIRY 

the strange ponies and Billy, startling 
Benjy by her sudden appearance— 

" ril « shoo • him to you," she said, 
and so she did. I don't know if Biily 
felt ashamed of himself when this pretty 
lady appeared, or how it was. But any 
way, between her " shooing " and Benjy's 
coaxing the pony soon found himself in 
his own field, and trotted into his shed 
as good as gold. 

Benjy stood looking at the lady. 
Then he remembered his "manners" 
and tugged off his cap. 

"Zank you," he said gravely. 
•' All right," said the girl. " I hope 
your pony won't be so naughty again." 

And in a minute she was down tht 
hillside and hastening along the road 
with her quick, firm step. 

"Poor little chap," she thought, 
"what a nice rosy face he had, and 
what good manners ! He must have a 
careful mother." 

But Benjy's thoughts would have 
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BENJYS FAIRY 
made her smile. He was very quiet 
aJl tea-time, so that his mother at last 
asked him what he was thinking about. 
"Mother," he said, «'does fairies 
have red feathers in their hats .? And 
curly hair like Lizzie's, and does they 
speak werry kind ? " 

What had put such fancies into his 
head .? thought mother. And she made 
him tell her the story. Then she 
smilec? and kissed his chubby face. 

" She was a good fairy to my boy, 
whoever she was," she said. "And I 
think the true fairies are those that do 
kind things to others— whether they are 
dressed in fine clothes or not." 

I am not sure that Benjy qui/e under- 
stood what mother meant. But he was 
pleased that she understood him, and 
he felt quite sure that his pretty lady 
must have been a real fairy. 

And he keeps hoping that some day 
he will see her again. 
Perhaps he will ! 
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1653 Eost Moin Street 
Rochester, New York 14609 
(716) 482 -0300 -Phone 
(716) 288- 5989 - Fox 



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"A BIT LONESOME" 

" The gift without the giver were bare" 

^M so glad," 
said Miss 
Dorothea Hil- 
yard one morn- 
ing when she 
had read a letter 
which was lying 
waiting for her at 
her place at the 
breakfast-table, " I really am thankfuir 
*'What about?" asked her mother, 
looking up from her own letters. ** I 
am always pleased to hear good news." 
"Oh, it's only about old Winnett," 
was the reply. « He's been chosen for 
the almshouses, so I can put him off my 

mamma, he is one of 
Auntie 




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»*A BIT LONESOME" 

me a shilling a week for. ! shall be 
very glad of his shilling for poor Mrs. 
Bridges ; she needs it very badly, and 
she is so nice. Jt's quite a pleasure to 
go to see her ; she is so superior to my 
other poor people. I don't need to cudgel 
my brains for things to talk to her about." 

" Yes, she is a very nice woman, and 
very intelligent," said Dorothea's mother, 
"and I am glad that you will now be able 
to help her regularly, as Auntie leaves 
you free to choose her pensioners. But 
poor old ^^'innett — you must still go to 
see him sometimes, even though he will 
not require any help now." 

** Oh well, yes — sometimes — I sup- 
pose," said Dorothea. But she did not 
speak eagerly. " I am certdnly very glad 
not to have to go often. He is such 
a stupid, dull old man, and I don't 
believe he cared the least to see me 
except to get his- money. You don't 
know how tired and bored I got after 
sitting a quarter of an hour with him. 

66 



li 









"A BIT LOxNESOME" 

And if I read aloud to him I don't 
believe he understood, or cared to listen." 

*• One can never tell," said Mrs. Hil- 
yard. "It takes a great deal of love 
and patience to get to understand some 
people — those who have never learnt to 
express what they feel." 

"Feei;' repeated Dorothea rather 
scornfully. "Lots of them have no 
feelings. Winnett feels nothing except 
anxiety to get enough food and firing, 
and he's got that now, thank goodness. 
It meant a shilling a week to him— that 
was all." 

" Perhaps so, but perhaps nof" replied 
her mother gently. And no more was 
saiu on the subject. 

Miss Dorothea H , ^d was what 
children would consider "grown-up.'* 
She was sixteen, and she was very quick 
and clever, and had a bright, decided way 
of talking which made her seem older 
than she was. She was a really good 
girl, and she meant to be very unselfish. 

67 



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"A BIT LONESOME" 

She was industrious too, really never idle, 
so that she managed to find time for a 
little regular work among the poor in 
the small town near which she and her 
parents lived, as well as for her own 
lessons and studies, and for helping her 
■ mother at home. She was an only child, 
and the most precious thing in the world 
to her father and mother, so perhaps she 
was scarcely to be blamed if she was just 
a tiny bit spoilt, and a little wanting in 
sympathy and patience with others. 

Her mother saw her faults, and often 
thought over the best way of correcting 
them. It was not very easy to do so, as 
there was almost never anything badly 
done that Dorothea took in hand, and 
faults of feeling are not so easy to point 
out as those of word and deed. 

" Time and experience will be her best 
teachers perhaps," thought Mrs.Hilyard, 
who was so gentle herself, that Dorothea 
often told her she was too good for this 
selfish world. 

68 



"A BIT LONESOME" 

Once a week Miss Dorothea set off 
tor Market Boville, where lived the six 
or seven poor families she was allowed 
to visit. It was rather a long walk, and 
in hot weather especially a tiring one. 
But hot or cold, rain or snow, it was 
very seldom the girl missed going. She 
was strong and well and not easily 
daunted. She used generally to walk 
there alone, as it was a perfectly safe 
country road, and then very often her 
mother would drive in to fetch her in 
the little pony carriage. 

Two days after the one that had 
brought the news of old Winnett's 
election to one of the Boville almshouses, 
came the afternoon for Dorothea's usual 
visit to the town. She r t off in good 
spirits, and in good spirits her mother 
found her three hours later when they 
met at the post-office, where Mrs. 
Hilyard often called for the afternoon 
letters. 

" I've had such a nice day," said 
69 



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"A BIT LONESOME" 

Dorothea as she sprang into the carriage. 
*• Mrs. Bridges is so delighted about the 
shilling a week. It's quite touching. 
And oh, mother, she has begun her lace 
work again now she is better, and she 
says she would be so pleased to teach me 
how to do it. So I'm going to get a 
lace pillow, and if I give myself half 
an hour extra every Thursday, Mrs. 
Bridges says with that amount of teach- 
ing and with practising at home, I'll soon 
learn." 

*' It would be very nice indeed," said 
Mrs. Hilyard, "only don't undertake 
too much, my dear. Did you go to see 
old Winnett } " 

*' No, of course not," said Dorothea, 
rather crossly. "He'll scarcely be 
settled yet — ^he only moved the day 
before yesterday. Besides, why should 
I .? It's ever so far round to the alms- 
houses, and he has everything he needs 
now. I daresay I'll go to see him some 
day or other." 

70 



"A BIT LONESOME" 

But for the next few weeks her 
Thursday afternoons were very fully 
taken up. The lace work was very 
interesting and half an hour seemed no 
time at it. It was all Dorothea could 
do to get her other visits paid before 
the hour at which she had to meet her 
mother, and more than once she said to 
herself what a good thing it was that 
that tiresome old Winnett was no longer 
one of her people. And if something — 
heart or conscience.? — gave a tiny twinge 
when she thought this, she would not own 
to herself that she felt it. 

One Thursday, however — more than 
a mc ith after she had begun the lace 
lessons — a disappointment met Dorothea 
when she got to Mrs. Bridges'. She 
had made it the last of her visits, so as 
to have only a short way to go when her 
time was up. And now Mrs. Bridges 
was ill, "JO bad with her head," said the 
neighbour who opened the door, that 
she thought Miss had better not see her, 

71 



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"A BIT LONESOME" 

as talking made her worse. Dorothea 
had seen these headaches, and knew it 
was true, so she turned away at once, 
leaving a kind message. 

" Now \ lat shall I do? *' she thought. 
"Three-quarters of an hour, good, till 
mamma comes." 

' She looked up and How.? tne street — 
there was a glimpse of the old church 
spire at the far end — and the almshouses 
were near the church. 

"Oh dear," thought Dorothea, "I 
may as well go to see old Winnett. It 
will please mamma." 

Five minutes' quick walking brought 
her to the almshouses — neat and pretty 
little dwellings, quite after Dorothea's 
own heart. Which was Winnett's.? She 
knocked at one door rnd asked. A very 
respectable, rather forbidding old dame 
opened. Yes, the old — person she was 
inquiring for lived at the end. Evi- 
dently this lady thought herself a long 
way above old Winnett ! Dorothea was 

72 



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smiling to herself at the idea, when her 
former pensioner opened his door. His 
face, which had been dull and rather sad, 
lighted up joyfully. 

"Oh Miss, oh Miss Hilyard, so you've 
come at last ! " he exclaimed. 

Rather surprised, Dorothea ans»»«-red 
kindly, and stepping in, began to praise 
his nice little home. Nothing satisfied 
the old man till he had shown her into 
every corner, with the greatest pride. 

" It is nice — quite charming,** she said 
warmly, "and you really wan' for nothing 
now, do you ? '* 

They were sitting in the kitchen by 
this time. Old Winnett did not at once 
answer. Then he said — 

*' Yes, Miss, Tve a deal to be thankful 
for. I've all I need in plenty, thank 
God. But — " — he stopped again — "it's 
— it's a bit lonesome sometimes," and 
Dorothea, looking up, saw to her 
astonishment that there were tears in 
his eyes. 

73 



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"A BIT LONESOME" 

"Fm — I'm so sorry," she swd very 
gently. 

" All strangers about, you see. Miss. 
And — I did look for you on a Thursday, 
when I was in the old place. And them 
tales as you read to me — many a time 
I've sat thinking them over to myself." 

**rm so glad," said Dorothea now. 
" So glad you liked them, and liked me 
coming. " I — I didn't think you cared 
about it," she was going on to say, but 
catching the faded old blue eyes looking 
at her with an expression of afFection 
she could not mistake, she changed her 
sentence. The other would have hurt 
him. **I have been rather extra busy 
lately, but I shall be sure to come now, 
every Thursday, as I used to do," she 
went on. 

"Thank you. Miss — thank you kindly. 
You've been so good to me— a-bringing 
the money so regular. But I shouldn't 
like you to think it was only that." 
And Dorothea felt as she walked away 
that she had learnt a lesson. 

74 



II 












MISS-SENT LETTERS 



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MISS-SENT LETTERS 
Part I 



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ARRY," said his 
mother, putting 
her head in at 
the schoolroom 
door. It was 
holidays, and 
the boys were 
at home, spend- 
ing a good deal 
of their time in the schoolroom with 
their sisters. For it was winter — and 
not freezing. There was no skating 
and nothingi-much to tempt one out of 
doors. . " Harry, there is a letter on the 
hall table addressed to Mrs. Merchiston 
at 23, Hexford Place, instead of Hex- 
ford Crescent. I know who Mrs. 
Merchiston is, though we have never 

77 






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MISS-SENT LETTERS 

called on each other. And her letters 
have been left here by the postman 
before this, by mistake. I suppose, 
strictly speaking, one should give this 
letter back *o him, but it looks like a 
foreign one, and I know she has sons 
abroad. So put on your cap and run 
< round with it at once to Hexford 
Crescent. It is only friendly to do so." 

" Ye — es," said Harry. He was deep 
in a story-book— a book of thrilling 
adventures, one of his Christmas presents. 
" Ye— es, mother." 

" Do you hear what I say ? " said his 
mother doubtfully. "I want you to 
take that letter at once to 23, Hexford 
Crescent." 

" I hear," said Harry, « 23, Hexford 
Crescent— same number as this. All 
right, mamma." 

It sounded all right, so his mother, 
who was in a hurry, hastened off, feeling 
that she had done her duty. 

But Harry, plunged into his book 
78 



MISS-SENT LETTERS 
again as soon as he had roused himself 
enough to answer his mother satis- 
factorily, thought no more of the letter 
and his promise. 

He might have remembered in passing 
through the hall had the letter still been 
visible there. But, unfortunately, the 
newspaper had been thrown down on 
top of it, and in lifting the newspaper 
the thm letter got shoved aside. And 
for the rest of the day there it lay— 
as well hidden as if it had been done on 
purpose, just behind the small gong- 
stand, which stood far back on the table. 
Harry's mother did not come home 
to luncheon that day. She was very 
busy. Christmas is always a busy time 
for everybody, especially for those who 
thmk of others as well as themselves and 
their own families. And Mrs. Lock- 
hart was one of these. She was very 
tired when she got home that afternoon, 
and It was already dark. Still as she 
passed the haU-table the miss-sent letter 

79 



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MISS-SENT LETTERS 

came back to her mind. Something she 
had heard that day made her think of it 
more than once. No, it was not there. 
Harry had taken it to its proper desti- 
nation, no doubt. 

The children were due at a juvenile 
party that evening. They were already 
dressing to go when Mrs. Lockhart 
came in. She went upstairs to her own 
room to rest a little before dinner, as 
she did not want her husband and 
grcwn-up son and daughter to say she 
was "too tired." And Harry and Dick 
were late as usual. She heard Conny 
begging them to be quick, the carriage 
was waiting — so she only opened her 
door to call out, "Good evening, my 
dears. I hope yoa will enjoy your- 
selves," as the four rushed downstairs, 
and a moment after the sound of a 
carriage door shutting sharply and the 
wheels rolling away told her they were 
off. 

She was very tired that evening — 
80 



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if 



MISS-SENT LETTERS 

" ^'' ^^'•^d," I am afraid. And they all 
begged her to go to bed early-Isabel 
promising to see that the younger ones 
were all right when they came back 
from their party. 

So it was not till the next morning at 
breakfast that Mrs. Lockhart saw utry 
again She turned to him, after hearing 
all about the party the evening before 
With a smile. * 

"One of my poor people toH me a 
little story yesterday, Harry, which 
made me think of you and the effort it 
cost you to look up from your book 
when I gave you that letter to take to 
Its proper destination." 
Harry started. 
"That letter, mamma," he repeated 

mechanically, « the letter I .'♦ and he 

looked up very confusedly, growing 
very red. ® 

'' Yes, of course," said his mother, 

the letter for Mrs. Merchiston in 

Hexford Crescent. You took it at 

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MISS-SENT LETTERS 

once, did you not? I looked for it 
when I came in, just in ca:i you had 
forgotten, but it was not on the taMe.** 

In her secret heart she began to fear 
that Harry had not taken it " at once," 
and that the knowledge of this was 
making him ashamed. But she never 
dreamt of the truth — that he had not 
taken it at all. 

** Oh, mamma ! " exclaimed the boy, 
starting up. "I'm dreadfully, ternbly 
sorry. But I quite forgot about it. 
I'll run with it now this very moment 
and explain that it was my fault." 

" Oh, Harry ! " said Mrs. Lockhart, 
reproachfully. But Harry was already 
out in the hall. 

Only to return the next moment, 
however, with a still more distressed 
face — the letter was not to be seen ! 
He had searched " everywhere " — quick 
work his ** searching everywhere" must 
have been — but it was nowhere to be 
found — it had disappeared ! 



MISS-SENT LETTERS 

Then came a ringing of bells and 
inquiries of the servants as to whether 
any of them knew anything about the 
letter, hopes being at first expressed that 
the footman might have given it back 
to the postman, or that the butler might 
hav. "sent it round" to Hexford 
Crescent. But no — nobody had done 
anything with it, nobody even had seen 
it except the girl who had been cleaning 
the steps the day before when the post- 
man left the early morning letters, and 
had taken them from him instead of his 
dropping them into the box. She was 
rather a quick girl, and she did re- 
member a thin envelope which had a 
strange name on it. And then Mrs. 
Lockhart herself had seen the letter. 
Its having been there was no dream. 

Where had it gone .? 

Then came a triumphant cry from 
Conny. 

" I've found it ; here behind the gong- 
stand— the little gong-stand on the 

83 



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table," and she ran forward, waving the 
letter in her hand. 

Mrs. Lockhart took it quickly and 
held it out to Harry. 

**Run with it at once," she said. 
" And — do not merely ring and drop it 
into the box, but wait till the door is 
opened and explain to Mrs. Merchiston's 
servant why it has been delayed." 

She looked grave and spoke seriously. 
She had two reasons for her last charge 
to Harry. She knew he would feel 
ashamed at having to tell of his own 
carelessness, and she hoped thit would 
be good for him. And she had a 
strange presentiment that the letter was 
of great importance — she felt anxious 
to hear something about it. 

So, though the rest of the party 
thought all was right now that the 
letter was found, Mrs. Lockhart herself 
seertied anxious and uneasy 



84 



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• WONDKK IF IT IS THKKK. WHKHK l H VI 
HANSOM IS STANDIN,;.. 



MISS-SENT LETTERS 



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Part II 

Harry ran aJi the way to Hexford 
Crescent. For though he did not at all 
like what he had to do, he was in the 
main a good, conscientious boy, and he 
knew he should feel very sorry if his 
forgetfulness aad done any harm. 

Besides, if one has a disagreeable task 
to do It is a very good plan to do it 
quickly and get it over. 

He got to Mrs. Merchiston's in two 
minutes, for it was quite near. Being a 
crescent there was only one side-fhe 
numbers went straight on-^d and even 
together— so some little way before he 
reached the actual house, Harry knew 
pretty well whereabouts it was. 

" Dear me," he said to himself, « I 
wonder if it is there where that hansom 
IS standing, with luggage on ? They 
must be going away," and he hastened 
H»s steps, though he was already running. 



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MISS-SENT LETTERS 

Something of his mother's presentiment 
seemed to come into him, and he felt a 
strange nervous anxiety which, joined to 
the running, made his heart beat faster 
than he almost ever remembered it beat- 
iing before. 

Yes — the cab was standing in front of 
" 23." 

He had no need to ring — at least not 
for the purpose of having the door 
opened, for it was standing as wide open 
as it could be, and there were rolls of 
travelling rugs and bags just inside, 
waiting to be carried out. 

But for a moment or two nobody was 
to be seen, and after an instant's hesita- 
tion, Harry rang the bell. Before it had 
left off sounding, a little girl ran out 
from a room at the end of the passage. 
That she was a little lady was to be seen 
at once, even though she came forward 
to the door to see who was there. 

" Oh," she said, as soon as she was 
near enough to distinguish Harry plainly, 

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MISS-SENT LETTERS 

"I thought it was the postman again, 
perhaps," and her voice sounded very 
disappointed. And then, looking at her, 
Harry saw that her eyes were sadly red 
and swollen, she had evidently been cry- 
ing terribly. He felt very sorry for her. 
She was a little younger than Harry — 
about twelve or thirteen he thought, and 
she was a very pretty child, though just 
now rather disfigured by her tears. 

" I am not the postman," said Harry, 
** but," and he tried to smile. He felt 
so sorry for her and yet so shy, " I have 
brought you a letter, sil the same," and 
he held it out. 

The little girl took it from him, at 
first in an indifferent way — she thought 
it was a note, and she knew no note 
could bring good news — ^but when she 
caught sight of the thin envelope and 
foreign stamp, she gave a shriek. 

"Oh, oh!" she cried, "it*s from 
Cairo. Wait — wait there a moment," 
she called back to Harry, who had begun 

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MISS-SENT LETTERS 

to explain the whole thing, as she rushed 
off— upstairs, so fast that she almost 
seemed to fly. « Mamma, mamma," 
she panted out, and Harry's ears, 
sharpened by excitement, caught the 
words, "it's the letter— perhaps you 

needn't go— perhaps Phil's " but 

then she must have run into some room, 
for Harry heard no more. 

He stood there for some time — it 
seemed a long time to him. And why 
he waited, he scarcely knew, except that 
the little girl had told him to do so, and 
also, I think, because, feeling his con- 
science far from clear about the letter, 
he was really very anxious to know what 
was the matter, and if possibly he had, 
without knowing iC, been the bearer of 
good news. Once or twice he turned 
and looked down the steps undecidedly. 
What was the good of waiting any 
longer .? Most likely the little girl had 
forgotten all about him. 

But just as he was making up his mind 
88 



MISS-SENT LETTERS 

to go, he heard a rush down the stairs, 
and in another moment the little girl, her 
fair hair streaming behind her, her eyes, 
though still swollen and red of course, 
yet sparkling and joyous, came flying 
towards him. 

"Oh, please come in," she said. 
" Please ^me up to the drawing-room 
for a minute. Mamma wants to sec you 
— to ask you about the letter and to 
thank you for bringing it. I suppose it 
went to your house by mistake, for 
it's got Hexford Place on, instead of 
Hexford Crescent. You see, Phil 
couldn't write himself, though he's so 
much better. Oh it's such good news 
— you don't know ! If only it had come 
yesterday — but any way it's come time 
enough to stop mamma going." , 

And so chattering, quite beside herself 
with delight, little Gladys Merchiston 
hurried upstairs again, followed more 
slowly by Harry, whose feelings were 
very mixed, as you can fancy. 

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MISS-SENT LETTERS 

He was thankful to hear that he had 
brought good news, very ashamed to 
think that but for his carelessness these 
^oor things might have had it yesterday, 
and very curious indeed to know more 
— who was Phil and what was the matter 
with him, and where was the little girl's 
mother going, and why ? 

He found himself in the drawing- 
room before he had half finished thinking 
over these questions. And then came 
back the shame and pain of learning all 
the sorrow his carelessness had caused, 
and still worse of having to explain that 
instead of deserving thanks he really had 
to ask for forgiveness. 

There were three ladies in the room 
— one in black whom Gladys called 
" Mamma," and two other girls older 
than his first acquaintance. And before 
he could stop them they all began 
thanking him, and Mrs. Merchiston 
hastened to explain that the letter was 
from a brother officer of her secord son, 

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MISS-SENT LETTERS 

Philip, who was very ill at Cairo. They 
had known he was ill, but the friend had 
promised to write by the next mail, by 
which time he hoped the worst of the 
attack would be over. 

"And the letter was due at latest 
yesterday morning," Mrs. Merchiston 
went on. ** I was terribly anxious when 
it did not come then, but waited for the 
later posts. When nothing came up to 
the last post, I made up my mind to go 
down to Southampton, where my eldest 
son is — he is a clergyman — and to 
arrange ^th him about starting for 
Cairo. I could bear the suspense no 
longer. But the girls persuaded me to 
wait till this morning in hopes of the 
letter coming. There was none, as you 
know, and I was just leaving when you 
came like a good angel. For the news 
is excellent. Philip is going on very 
welly and hopes to be home in a month. 
You are Master Lockhart, are you not .? 
I know your kind mother a little — my 

91 



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MISS-SENT LETTERS 
letters have gone to your house once o 
twice before. Hexford Place is so mucl 
better known than our little Crescent.' 
For the houses where the Lockhart 
lived were much larger and grander thar 
the Merchistons*. « Poor Phil's frienc 
must have thought we lived there. Ii 
was like Mrs. Lockhart to send it ai 
once— you will tell her all it has saved 
us." 

Harry murmured something — then he 
grew very red and resolved to get it 
over. Big boy as he was, the tears were 
not far ofF before he had blurted it alJ 
out. 

But how kind they were ! They 
were too happy and thankful to blame 
him. And I think that he got more 
and more sorry, the kinder they 
grew. 

He went home rather more slowly 
than he had come, though quickly still, 
he was eager to tell his mother all about 
it. She kissed him when he had finished, 

92 



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MISS-SENT LETTERS 
saying gently, *♦ I am sure it will make 
you more thoughtful, my boy. And I 
shall be very pleased for you to go again 
and see the Merchistons, as they so kindly 
asked you. I do hope the son will soon 
be quite well. 

Harry was leaving the room when he 
turned back again. 

" What was it you were gomg to tell 
us, mamma, at breakfast this morning — 
a little story that reminded you of the 
letter, you said .? " 

*' Oh, yes," his mother replied. " I 
will tell it you at tea-time. It was about 
another miss-sent letter." 



^ 



Part III 

Harry Lockh art's mother had not 

a bad memory ; she never forgot any 

promise she had made. So when the 

hildren were all at tea in the school- 

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MISS-SENT LETTERS 

room that afternoon, the door opene 
and " mamma " appeared. 

Up jumped the boys— there was 
rush between Dick and Harry as t( 
which would get a chair for the welcome 
visitor first, and Conny, who was pour 
ing out tea, begged her mother to hav( 
" one cup of ours, even if you do hav( 
it afterwards in the drawing-room." 

And t: m Mrs. Lockhart told hei 
little story. 

" You remember Mrs. Dear, Conny,' 
she said, " one of the old women I go 
to see. I took you there with me once, 
I think .? " 

**Oh yes, mamma, I remember her 
quite well. She lives in one of those 
great model buildings, as they are called, 
doesn't she ? And her room was so 
clean and nice and she herself such an 
old dear. I remember saying how well 
her name suited her." 

" Yes—it does," replied Mrs. Lock- 
hart. "She is a very dear, good old 

94 






MISS-SENT LETTERS 
woman, and I am sure you will think so 
more than ever after you have heard my 
story. Last week when I went to see 
her as usual, I found her looking rather 
worried. 

" * What is the matter, Mrs. Dear .? * 
I said. • No bad news, I hope .? * for I 
saw that she iiad a letter in her hand, 
and I know that letters are a great event 
in her life. She has only one living 
relation, at least only one near enough 
to write to her. 

" * Oh no, my lady, thank you kindly 
for asking, all the same,' she said— Do 
you remember, Conny, that Mrs. Dear 
always says « My lady * .?— ' oh, no, my 
lady, IVe very good news of brother 
and his fam'ly, thank you. No, it's no 
trouble of my own that's rather on my 
mind to-day. It's about this letter,' 
and she held it out to me to look at, 
saying as she did so, « Now ma'am, how 
would you read that address .? ' 
" I glanced at it. 

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MISS-SENT LETTERS 

*•• Mrs. M. Dear, 
No. 6, D. Block, 
Charters* Buildings, 
East Whittington Street*— 

♦* I said. 

•* Mrs. Dear seemed pleased. 

" * There now — that*s just as I said, 
though I'm not much of a scholard 
like you, my lady. But will you please 
look at it again — you'll see it isn't 
really meant for me. This is No. 6, 
sure enough, but it isn*t " D ** Block — 
and the «' Mrs.*' isn't " Mrs." at all, 
but " Miss.** No, I've took it to my 
neighbour Mrs. Grimby, and her son, as 
is high up at school, says it's " Miss M. 
Dean,** not " Dear," at all.' 

" I looked at it more closely. Yes, I 
saw she was right. It was evidently 
•Miss M. Dean.* 

" * But you mustn't mind about it, 
Mrs. Dear,' I said, for I saw that the 
letter was open, and I thought she was 

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MISS-SENT LETTERS 

vexing herself on that account, • no one 
could blame you for having opened it.' 
" She looked up quite innocently : 
such an idea had never occurred to 
her. 

♦• * Oh no, my lady, it's not that, I'm 
troubling after,' she said. • It's fearing 
the poor things will be so put about at 
not getting the letter,' and then she went 
on to tell me what it was about. For 
the Grimby boy had read it out to her ; 
I by herself, poor dear, I don't think she 
■ could have made much sense of it. It 
was a letter from a lady to engage a girl 
or young woman as nurse— the lady said 
she had had a good account of her, but 
that the nurse must answer at once, as 
there was another person applying for 
the situation, who would suit very well 
also, and who could come immediately. 
• So,' said the letter, ♦ if I do not hear 
from you at once, I shall engage the 
other, as I cannot run the risk of losing 
her.' ^ 



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MISS-SENT LETTERS 

" I agreed with Mrs. Dear that it was 

a pity. 

«' ' But why don't you give it back to 
the postman and tell him to take it to 
the right place ? ' I said. 

" My old woman shook her head. 
"♦I misdoubt me the poor thing 
wouldn't get it in time if I did that. 
The postmen don't trouble overmuch 
about letters for the Buildings, and even 
if he did his best, it'd take a deal of 
time to ax at all the Blocks for Miss 
Dean. No, I'm right down worried- 
like about it. If I could go round 
myself, now.' 

"'No, indeed, Mrs. Dear,' I said, 
*you mustn't think of such a thing. 
It's raining hard and it's very cold— and 
you with your rheumatism.' And then 
as it was getting late and I had to hurry 
home, I left her. And I thought no 
more about it — 

"Till yesterday — and then when I 
went to see Mrs. Dear, I found her in 

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MISS-SENT LETTKRn 

bed. She had had a sharpis » pttack of 
rheumatism, but she assured r.'' ^> was 
much better, and I must say she seemed 
in very good spirits — very cheery 
indeed. 

" * But how did you catch cold ? ' I 
asked her. ' When I saw you last week 
you were very well.' 

"The poor old body looked very 
guilty. Then at last it came out. 

" * I can't deceive you, my lady,' she 
said, 'and that's the truth of it. I 
didn't do as you told me, and you must 
forgive me. After you had gone that 
day I just sat worriting and worrit- 
ing about that poor girl and the letter. 
And at last — it wasn't raining so bad by 
then— I could bear it no longer. And 
I puts on my pattens and my cloak and 
I takes my umbrella and ofr I goes. I 
made pretty near the round of the 
Buildings, I can tell you, my lady, afore 
I found 'em, but I wasn't goin' to be 
beaten. I'm like that, my lady, once 

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MISS-SENT LETTERS 

I'm started on a thing. And I did find 
'em— Deanses, I mean. They've not 
been long here, and such respectable 
people, my lady. Father's dead and 
this Mary's the eldest girl, and so keen 
to get a good place. She'd been cryin', 
my lady, she had indeed, at no letter 
comin', as she'd been hopin' for all day. 
And they was that pleased and obleeged ! 
Roomatics or no roomatics, says I to 
myself, I'm glad I done it. Only, my 
lady, I'd have been still gladder for 
you not to find me laid up, for I did 
catch cold that day, I'm afraid. But 
you must forgive me and not think 
me ungrateful. I'll be up and about as 
hearty as ever in a day or two, no fear. 
And Mrs. Dean's so good to me— never 
a morning but what she looks in to see 
how I'm a gettin' on. I've not felt so 
friendly-like with no once since I come 
to London— and that's nigh upon forty 
years ago, for it's goin' on for twenty 
since my good husband died. It is that, 
my lady.' 



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MISS-SENT LETTERS 

" So you see, childA^n, I could under- 
stand why poor old Dear was in such 
good spirits in spite of her rheumatism. 
She had the reward of a good conscience 
— and she has also what one doesn't 
always get in this world, the warm 
gratitude of those she befriended." 

The children had listened with 
interest. And when his mother left 
off speaking Harry looked up with a 
rather comical smile. 

•* I think I've got a rew ^ certainly 
didn't deserve, mamma. . . I'm sure 
Mrs. Merchiston wants me to be great 
friends with them all, and 1 can see 
they're awfully nice. She said I must 
go to see Captain Philip Merchi ton as 
soon as ever he arrives, and tell him 
all about the miss-sent letter." 



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A COW WITH NINE LIVES 



:' a 



A COW WITH NINE LIVES 




CO ^ with nine 
lives!" I hear 
somebody say. 
" That must 
be a mistake. 
You must mean 
'a cat with 
nine lives' — 
no one ever 
speaks of a cow in that way." 

No, my dear children, it is not a 
mistake. If you have never heard a 
cow spoken of in that way before, I 
think you will agree with me, when you 
have heard the adventures of Farmer 
Crosby's " Beauty," that the saying may 
be very well applied to her. 

Farmer Crosby has a farm on the 
west coast of England. It is not a 
very large farm, but the situation is 

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A COW WITH NINE LIVES 
beautiful. And though very near the 
sea it is not bare or desolate-looking as 
land on the coast often is. On the 
contrary there are rich meadows and 
lovely trees, and it is never very cold at 
Cliff End, as the farm is called. Nor 
could it have a better name, for a good 
part of it is in a corner as it were, just 
where the clifFs do end, though on the 
other side the fields slope down gently 
to the shore, almost on to the sands. 
So that you can sit on the grass under 
shady trees and hear the little waves 
lapping in all at the same time, which 
does not often happen. 

Cliff End farmhouse is large and old 
ant! straggling — and the Crosbys have 
no children. So there are more rooms 
than the farmer and his wife require, 
and in summer they are sometimes glad 
to have two or three lodgers — "quiet 
people and not too difficult to please 
about their food," Mrs. Crosby says. 
fVe have been there several times, so I 

io6 






A con^' with nine lives 

suppose the good woman finds us quiet 
people. As for being easily pleased 
with our food at ClifF End, / think it 
would be very difficult indeed to be 
^/jpleased I When you have any quan- 
tity of first-rate milk, and cream if 
you like— excellent butter, home-made 
bread, fresh eggs, and home-cured bacon 
and ham — not to speak of chickens and 
ducks and fruit and vegetables in their 
season — and all neatly served, *vith 
every care to make you comfortable 
— don't you think it would be very 
difficult not to be pleased? 

Farmer Crosby does not keep a large 
number of cows, but those he has are 
very " choice." He likes to have a 
steady supply of milk and butter all the 
year round — enough for a few families 
who always deal with him, and for his 
own home use. His cows are made 
great pets of, and I must say they are 
pretty creatures. " Beauty," whom this 
little story is about, well deserves her 

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A COW WITH NINE LIVES 

name. So you can understand that it 
was a real sorrow to the farmer and his 
kind \vife, as well as a considerable loss 
of money, when a sad accident happened 
to four of their favourites. 

It came about in this way. 

The fields up at the top of the cliffs 
are very good pasture, and till the 
accident I am going to tell vou of 
happened, nothinj I'ad ever gone wrong 
with the animals put to graze in them. 
They seemed to know by instinct that 
they must not go too near the edge of 
the precipice, for a precipice it really was. 
So nobody had any fear about it, and 
one summer when we were staying 
there, we never felt at all anxious about 
the pretty covvs, when, in passing 
through the " high fields '* as they were 
called, or sometimes when looking up 
from the shore below, we caught sight 
of their smooth, silky-looking sides, as 
they munched away at the nice juicy 
grass in great content. 

io8 



A COW WITH NINE LIVES 

But one morning we were all startled 
very early — we were not quite dressed, 
and Mrs. Crosby's little maid was just 
beginning to lay the breakfast-table, so 
it could not have been eight o'clock — 
by hearing some one rushing into the 
yard and then into the kitchen, calling 
loudly for the farmer. 

What was the matter ? 

If it had been in the night wc should 
probably have thought that the hay- 
stacks had caught fire, but somehow in 
the daytime, especially early in the 
morning, oiv loughts do not turn to 
•• fire " so quickly. And almost before 
we had time to wonder what it could be, 
we heard the explanation, as, dreading 
some trouble for our good friends, we 
hurried downstairs. 

Mrs. Crosby was standing still in the 
midst of her "dishing up" our ham 
and eggs and toast, looking very white 
— the farmer had just dashed out of the 
kitchen. 

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A COW WITH NINE IJVES 

" It's the cows, Miss," she said, wiping 
her eyes. "The four best we have- 
Beauty and those other three 
always admired so." 

** But what has happened to them .' " 
we asked. 

♦* They've gone, Miss — ^gone out of 
the high fields, and nowhere to be seen. 
But there's marks of trampling — just 
at the edge — the cliff side of the field, 
you know, Miss, and the men's afraid 
they've fallen over. Something may- 
have startled them, you see. Miss, in the 
night and set them running, not rightly 
knowing where they were going, poor 
things. And there's none of them 
there, and — and " 

** Could they possibly have been 
stolen ? " we asked. 

Mrs. Crosby shook her head. 

**0h dear no — such a thing could 
never happen. It's the cliffs, Miss, I'm 
thinking so of." 

And the clififs it was. 
no 



been 



A COW WITH NINE LIVES 

Almost before we had finished speak- 
ing, one of the men was seen hastening 
back. He looked very downcast. The 
farmer had sent him to break the news 
to Mrs. Crosby. The cows had fallen 
over the cliffs. One was lying there, 
just below the place where the trampled 
grass had been noticed, quite dead. 
She had been killed on the spot. And 
not far from her were two others, not 
dead, nor even, wonderful to say, badly 
hurt. They were going to bring them 
home at once, and this man was to fetch 
the cow doctor. 

And the fourth .? 

She was not to be seen anywhere — 
she had just disappeared ! They were 
afraid, the farmer and his men, that she 
had fallen over some distance further 
on, right into the sea, not into the little 
cove where the three others had been 
found. If so, she was surely drowned, 
and, sad to say, this •* she " was the 
flower of the flock, pretty Beauty ! 

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A COW WITH NINE LIVES 

How poor Mrs. Crosby cried ! 

At first she had been rather glad that 
Beauty was not one of the three that 
had been found, as she hoped perhaps 
the favourite cow would turn up all 
right, having strayed off in another 
direction. But the day passed and there 
came no news of her, showing that 
there were no grounds for this hope, as 
all the neighbours had heard of the 
misfortune and would have been sure 
to find her. And night came ; and 
another day and another night and the 
Crosbys became convinced that Beauty 
was drowned. 

It was a heavy loss — two fine cows. 
No farmer would think it a trifle, and 
Mr. Crosby is not a rich man. He 
tried to be glad that two were saved 
and getting over their injuries, but his 
wife could not feel glad of anything. 
It was not only the money loss sliC 
cared about — it was even worse than 
that, she said — just the thought of her 

112 



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BKAUTY MIC.HT HAVK I,AM»F.I) IN SOMK OTHKK 
LITTLE COVP:. 






A COW WITH NINE LIVES 

Beauty having come to so sad an 
end. 

I cannot say exactly how many days 
had gone by — certainly nearly, if not 
quite, a week—when an idea struck the 
farmer's wife. She spoke of it to her 
husband, and though he did not think 
it much good, he was so sorry for her, 
that he agreed to try what she asked. 
This was to get a boat and row right 
along the coast at the foot of the clifFs, 
keeping as close to shore as possible. 
Mrs. Crosby had a faint hope that 
Beauty might have landed in some other 
little cove, out of reach of the waves. 

No—that was not what had hap- 
pened. It was something still more 
wonderful. They found her standing, 
or lying, I don't know which, just 
inside a small cave, with the sea rippling 
up to the very opening— how she had 
got there, who can say ? But there, as 
a fact, she was, and nearly starved, poor 
beastie— she could not have had any- 

113 I 



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A COW WITH NINE LIVES 
thing to eat all those days— but other- 
wise none the v.*orse. 

It was no joke, I can tell you, to get 
her out— they had to tie ropes round 
her and draw her into the boat. 
"Never seed such a job in my lire, 
said the farmer. But it was managed 
at last, and Beauty brought home in 
triumph. Luckily Mrs. Crosby had 
made the men take some hay in the 
boat, and her husband told us that the 
way the poor creature ate it up was " a 
sight to be seen." 

Beauty is alive and well now. We 
hope to see her again next year. And 
do you not think I may call her - a cow 
with nine lives " ? 

AU the same I am quite sure she will 
never again be put to graze in the high 
fields at Cliff End Farm. 



114 



A REMARKABLE CHICKEN 



A REMARKABLE CHICKEN 
Part I 




HE boys were 
always being 
talked to about 
birds* - nesting. 
It was very 
necessary, one 
year especially, 
for they were 
in the worst 
stage of the egg-collecting mania, and 
they had caught it badly. "Stamps'* 
were nothing to it. And as they com- 
plained to their father one day, not 
without reason, what was the good of 
teaching them to take an interest in 
" natural history," and all " that sort of 
thing,*' if they were not allowed to follow 
it up " practically "—" practically " of 
course meaning just then, egg collecting ! 

117 



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A REMARKABLE CHICKEN 

" Well," said father, " keep to a rule 
about it. Never take more than one 
egg from a nest— or at most two, if 
there are several. And never, on any 
account, take all." 

They promised, and they kept their 
promise. After a time the temptation 
was not so great, for the number of 
birds in England is, after all, limited— 
especially in any one part of the country. 
And once they had two or three eggs of 
each kind they felt fairly satisfied— for 
to do them justice, they were not "extra" 
mischievous boys— they did not actually 
enjoy mischief for its own sake only. 

There were still one or two melancholy 
vacancies in the neatly divided egg 
cabinet— perhaps the most conspicuous 
of all was the rather larger compartment 
labelled " owls' eggs," all ready for the 
occupants that had not yet come. And 
one day a great excitement arose in the 
boy world of the old rectory. Arthur 
nudged Myles and whispered to him, 

ii8 



A REMARKABLE CHICKEN 

just as the servants were filing in to 
prayers, and Myles grew very red and 
looked as if he were going to choke all 
breakfast-time with keeping something 
in. Mother thought it must be fear of 
father's lecturing Arthur and him in the 
study about the whispering almost in 
prayers-time, for mother always fancied 
that Myles, a perfect whirligig of a boy, 
never still for half an instant if he could 
help it, was " nervous.** But she 
changed her mind and felt her pity 
misplaced when she caught sight of him 
button-holeing Robin and pouring out a 
torrent of delightful news concerning 
some marvellous discovery or other that 
had come to Arthur's ears. And for the 
rest of the morning — it was so-called 
Easter holidays just then, not one of the 
trio was to be seen or heard of. 

fVe^ however, may know what they 
were about. 

The secret was an owl's nest ! 

*'It's in the old walnut-tree at the 
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A RF MARK ABLE CHICKEN 

corner where the footpath runs into the 
wood. You know," said Arthur. 
" Who told you ? Was it BiU .? " 
Yes, of course it was Bill — the in- 
evitable boy always to be found in one 
capacity or another about a country 
house where there are boys of a different 
class. Either he is the gardener's son, 
or^the coachman's nephew, or possibly 
only " odd boy," whose mother is a most 
respectable widow in the village. But 
whatever his home or his family, wherever 
there are "Arthurs," and "Myleses," 
and "Robins," there is sure to be " Billy" 
— faithfullest of followers, ready for any- 
thing, possessed of really miraculous in- 
formation as to the whereabouts and 
" howabouts " of bird and beast and fish 
— nay more, a perfect mine of informa- 
tion about adders and slow-worms, wasps 
and wild bees. 

It was Bill who ..-d found the owl's 
nest — Bill who was, in his own funny 
way, just as excited about it as the boys. 

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1 .3^B' 






'ITS THK HOI.I.KR TRKK-THK HOI.I.Kk WALNUT 
IKKK, MASTKR ARTHUR. 



A REMARKABLE CHICKEN 

** It's the holler tree — the holler 
walnut-tree, Master Arthur," he re- 
peated. ** I've thought it for a good 
bit, but last night I was surer than 
ever. And this morning I watched till 
I saw her with my own eyes." 

Now I am not a naturalist, and here 
comes a hitch in my (true) story. I do 
not know if, when an owl is hatching 
her eggs, she ever leaves the nest at all .? 
Or, supposing she does, is it during the 
day-time, contrary to her ordinary habits, 
or at dusk, or still later ? I cannot tell, 
and as I have no Arthur or Myles, or still 
better. Bill, at hand to ask the hour of the 
wise lady's constitutional, I will frankly 
own that I do not know how it came to 
pass that the boys I am writing about were 
able to rob the nest in the old walnut- 
tree without mamma owl's interference. 
Was she out, or did they frighten her 
away ? I do not know — I can only tell 
the fact — they found the nest and in it 
three eggs ! 

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A REMARKABLE CHICKEN 

How delighted they were, I need not 
say. 

Then came other considerations — 
father's conditions recurred uncomfort- 
ably to their memory. 

" Must we only take one ? " said 
Myles, dolefully. 

" Oh, I say, we might surely take two," 
said Robin, **just think of the time 
we've been waiting to find an owl's nest 
we could get at. Don't you think we 
might take two, Arthur ? " 

** I'd like to take three," said Arthur, 
" that'd be one each — or any way a 
reserve in case of accidents." For 
accidents do happen in egg-blowing, as 
everybody knows. ** What do you 
think," he went on, ** do you suppose an 
owl's nest counts, the same as thrushes, 
and blackbirds, and those father is so 
particular about ? Owls don't sing — 
they only hoot — they're not much 
good. I say, why shouldn't we take 
all three ? " ' 

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A REMARKABLE CHICKEN 

Myles hesitated. He was tender- 
hearted. 

" I suppose," he said slowly, " I sup- 
pose, all the same, they've got feelins — 
mother-owls, any way." 

Arthur and Robin said nothing, but 
just then I think they did wish that, 
whether owls had them or not, Myles 
hadn't « feelins." 

Suddenly — as often happened — came 
Bill to the rescue. 

'* I have it," he cried, ** just you wait 
up there 'arf a minute. Master Arthur," 
and in less time than it takes to tell he 
had run off and was back again, carrying 
something carefully in his cap. 

The " something " was two small hen's 

eggs. 

"They're my very own," he said. 
"I've two bantams you know, as was 
gave me, and mother sells the eggs 
for me, but it don't matter for two." 
{This Bill lived somewhere close at hand.) 
" Put 'em in the old owl's nest, Master 

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A REMARKABLE CHICKEN 

Arthur," he went on— "she'll find no 
difference, for all they say owls is so 
wise — and then you can take the three." 
No sooner said than done. Off walked 
the boys in triumph, each with an owl's 

egg. 

" But supposing she hatches the hen's 
eggs," said Arthur suddenly, "what'll 
happen then, Bill ? " 

" Chickens, I suppose," said Bill with 
a grin. '* But there's no fear of that. 
It'd be agin' nature." 

His young masters were not so clear 
about that — hens hatched ducks' eggs, 
as everybody knows. But Bill couldn't 
see the force of the argument. 

*• It'll be an experiment," said Arthur. 
" We must come in a day or two and 
look what's happened." 



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A REMARKABLE CHICKEN 



Part II 



A GOOD many days passed, however, 
before any one of the four— even Bill — 
thought of climbing up into the old 
walnut-tree again to see what was 
happening in the owl's nest. 

To tell the truth they forgot all 
about it. 

Arthur and his brothers placed two 
of the precious enjgs in the compartment 
which had so long been awaiting them, 
and, as, wonderful to say, none of the 
three treasures had met with any accident 
in the process of blowing, the boys then 
opened negotiations with a schoolfellow 
at a distance as to the third and last. 

The schoolfellow was suffering from 
the same mania as his three friends, and 
had met with disappointment, as they 
had done, about obtaining an owl's egg 
or eggs, and he was greatly delighted 
at the chance of a "swop." But so 

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,1 

i 



A REMARKABLE CHICKEN 

important a piece of business is not to 
be settled all at once or lightly. Several 
letters had to be written on both sides 
before the exact terms of exchange were 
decided upon, and I am sorry to have to 
confess that I have quite forgotten what 
the boys at last agreed to accept in 
exchange for poor Mrs. Owl's last egg. 
It was another egg, or eggs — that is all 
I know, and it came by parcel post and 
was luckily not broken. So the owl's 
egg had to be sent back in like manner, 
carefully swathed in cotton-wool and 
tissue-paper and packed in a small box. 
And all this letter writing and egg 
packing took a great deal of time and 
thought — so much so indeed that after 
it was over, I think Arthur, Myles and 
Robin felt for a day or two just a little 
tired of the labours of a collector, and 
looked about for other worlds to conquer 
in the shape of a hitherto unexplored 
pond which Bill recommended to their 
notice as "sartin sure" to contain fish 
doubtless waiting to be caught, 

126 



A REMARKABLE CHICKEN 

But either the fish were cleverer than 
Bill gave them credit for being, or 
something was wrong with the boys' 
rods, or there were no fish to catch — 
anyway the attempt was a failure. 

And the boys were feeling rather flat, 
when one morning, to their great delight, 
a message came in to them from Bill to 
say would the young gentlemen come 
out to speak to him as soon as they 
could — he wanted to show them some- 
thing " very pertickler indeed ? '* 

Out they all trooped. 

" What is it, Bill ? " they shouted all 
three at once. 

But Bill had his own way of telling a 
story, and though he was grinning from 
ear to car, he was not going to be 
hurried. 

He began his tale by a question. 

" YouVe never bin for to have a look 
in the owl's nest in the walnut-tree, 
Master Arthur ? " he said. He always 
addressed his remarks to Arthur in the 

127 



A REMARKABLE CHICKEN 

first place, as the eldest, though they 
were really meant for all three. 

Arthur shook his head, so did Myles, 
and so did Robin. 

"No," they replied, "we forgot all 
about it. Didn't you, Bill ? It's ever 
so long ago — the eggs we put in must 
be quite addled and bad by now." 
** Let me see," added Arthur, " it must 
be three or four weeks ago, isn't it ? " 

"About that," said Bill, "and you're 
quite right, sir, I'd forgot all about it. 
'Twas only last night as ever was, 
mother says to me, * wasn't you going 
to set that there little Bantam hen of 
yours. Bill ? I've always meant to ask 
you, but it slipped my memory.* I 
said as how the little hen hadn't been 
layin' so well — ^last week she didn't lay 
at all, but what mother said set me 
thinking of the day I put the two eggs 
in the owl's nest — I had been meaning 
to get four or five to set the hen on, 
but when I took the two and she started 

128 



lii 



i 



A REMARKABLE CHICKEN 

layin' so unreg'lar I didn't think of it 
again. But this mornin' as I were a 
comin' along to my work I thought I'd 
have a look at the holler tree, and — " 
here he stopped and began grinning 
ag^n. 

"Well," said Arthur, "hurry up— 
can't you ? What did you see ? " 

" Best see for yourself, sir," said Bill, 
turning as he spoke to lead the way. 

Again I am at a loss to tell you how 
they got rid of Mrs. Mother Owl. I 
do not know if they frightened her off 
the nest, or if at that hour of the day 
she was usually not at home. I will 
ask Arthur the next time I see him. 
But I can tell you with perfect certainty 
what met the boys' astonished eyes as 
one after the other they climbed up to 
look. 

There — carefully seated, or lying, by 
itself in its foster mother's nursery, was 

a Bantam chicken, about ten days old 

quite as flourishing and well-cared for 

129 K 






\, 



A REMARKABLE CHICKEN 
as if it had been in its proper place in a 
hen-house or under a coop I 

A chicken hatched and fed by an owl ! 
No wonder Bill grinned over such a 

curiosity. 

The hatching was not the most 
remarkable part of it-the marvel was 
what had it been fed upon ? 

For owlets, as everybody knows, are 
very different from chickens-Mo', Me 
owls, 1 mean, are fed upon mice, msects, 
and in a general way what we call 
«» animal food." Did the small bantam 
take to this nourishment, or did its 
foster-mother show herself worthy ot 
her name for wisdom by discovering 

that her nursling was of a ^^''^^^''Z 
from her own, and feeding it with the 

food natural to it ? 

This no one can ever tell— as neither 
chickens nor owls can speak or under- 
stand human language, however clever 
they may be in those of clucking and 

hooting. 

130 



A REMARKABLE CHICKEN 

And another marvel, almost greater 
than that of the food, soon struck the 
boys. 

"How in the world," said Arthur, 
"has the creature managed not to fall 
out and kill itself ? For chickens begin 
trotting about immediately ? " 

This was a poser — to which there 
could be no reply. 

But it made the boys sure — and very 
pleased they were to feel so — ^that " in 
common humanity'* the chicken must 
no longer be left in its present position 
— living " on the edge of a precipice," 
as Robin, who secretly prided himself on 
his poetical way of speaking, expressed it. 

So little Miss Bantam was carefully 
carried ofF to the poultry-yard and there 
giv *\ over to the motherly care of an 
exj: ienced hen, who had just hatched 
a nice little party of six or seven 
chickiens, and there she grew and 
prospered and became one of the 
"lions" of the Vicarage. No visitors 

131 



A REMARKABLE CHICKEN 

ever come there without being asked 
if they would not like to see the Bantam 
hen who was hatched and brought up 
for the first week or two of her life by 
an owl ! She has hatched several broods 
of chickens herself since then. I wonder 
if she ever tells her children the story of 
her early adventures ? 

As for poor mother owl, whc seems 
on the whole to have come off the worst, 
having been twice robbed of her young- 
lings, I am happy to tell you that she 
took her loss philosophically, and is at 
the present moment alive and hearty- 
having successfully hatched her own 
eggs and brought up her owlets year 
by year without misadventure. 

For father put his foot down about 
her. The nest in the hollow walnut- 
tree was never again to be despoiled. 



TOWW 



BROTBXRS, THE CRMHAM PRB88, W0«WO AW) LOHDOH. 



Vt